INDEPENDENCE — The full criminal complaint against former Independence football coach Jason Brown was released by the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office, detailing the eight felony charges and two misdemeanor counts facing the embattled “Last Chance U” star.
The complaint lists the victims of the alleged crimes committed by Brown. Attorney Richard Barnwell of the Cochran Law Firm in California is listed as the victim of all four felony identity theft charges. Montgomery County Chronicle editor Andy Taylor is listed twice as a victim of felony blackmail. Independence Daily Reporter publisher Josh Umholtz as well as Steve McBride of the Reporter are also listed as blackmail victims.
As for the two misdemeanor counts of criminal false communication, former Independence assistant coach Jake Bugg is listed as the victim.
On the four counts of identity theft, Brown could face a minimum of seven months and a maximum of 23 months in prison plus a fine of up to $100,000 if convicted. The four counts of blackmail carry a potential sentence of 11-34 months in prison plus a fine up to $100,000. The two misdemeanor counts carry a penalty of one year in county jail plus a fine up to $2,500.
Kansas Sentencing Guidelines determine if a defendant qualifies for probation or prison, based on his or her criminal record. Generally, the lower level felonies of which Brown is charged would result in a suspended prison term and probation.
Brown has hired Colorado-based attorney Mark L. Bryant to represent him in the case. As of Tuesday morning, Brown, who is reportedly in California, has yet to be arrested.
In a video posted onto Facebook, Brown said he was made aware of the charges through various reports and that the process is now in the hands of the court.
“I wish people had lives rather than attack me,” Brown said. “I did nothing but great things for that town of Independence. For somebody to charge me with something and not let me know is almost appalling. I’ll let my lawyers take it from here…I’ve done nothing but be me. We’ll let the courts handle it from here.”
Bugg, the former assistant at Independence, spoke to the Sun and said he received similar cease-and-desist letters allegedly sent by Brown purporting to be Barnwell.
“Whatever he sent to the newspapers is exactly what I got,” Bugg said. “A cease-and-desist letter to anything that involved him. I just kind of let it go. It didn’t sound real, but what can you do? I knew I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Bugg said he received the emails after sticking up for the German player who Brown texted, “I am your new Hitler.” Brown resigned from ICC shortly after that exchange.
“I felt like it needed to be put out there for everybody to see instead of hidden among the college, where they’re trying to keep it hush-hush,” Bugg said.
When Bugg received the email, he said he called the number listed. He got in contact with Barnwell, who said he knew nothing of the emails sent to Bugg.
“It looked like it came from a lawyer,” Bugg said. “I called the number on the email, and I got a call back from Richard Barnwell and they weren’t happy. They said they didn’t know who I was or anything about an email. That’s when I knew what I received was fake.”
Bugg, who said he gave an interview to the Montgomery County investigators, was hired onto the Independence football staff at the start of the 2018 season and resigned in January 2019.
“This is definitely not what I thought would’ve happened in a year,” Bugg said. “I knew the type of person I was getting involved with. But for things to go as far south as they have… It is what it is I guess.”
Montgomery County’s complaint lists a variety of witnesses. Barnwell, the Reporter, Taylor and Bugg are all listed.
Other names of note on the witness list include Independence interim president and athletic director Tammie Geldenhuys, former Independence president Dan Barwick and Independence head football coach Kiyoshi Harris — Brown’s replacement who previously served on Brown’s staff.
Larry Markle, the county attorney for Montgomery County, is serving as the prosecutor on the case against Brown.